Pep Guardiola’s side crashed out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night, losing 2-0 to Southampton, who currently sit bottom of the Premier League table.
First half goals from Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo proved fatal blows to the Blues’ League Cup hopes, as City crashed out of the competition for a second successive season.
City must recover quickly with a derby match against Manchester United on Saturday their next assignment.
A resurgent United have won 15 of their 18 games since a 6-3 humbling by City in October, and are on an eight-match winning run in all competitions.
Second-placed City trail Premier League leaders Arsenal by five points and Guardiola warned his players can’t afford a repeat of Wednesday’s performance if they want to overcome their crosstown rivals and keep pace with the Gunners.
“It’s a different competition, of course, but if we perform in this way we don’t have a chance,” he said. “I know the momentum they have.
“For many years they’re looking forward to being in this position. We know exactly what to do to play better and we’re going to try to do it … Today was not even close to what we are.”
Reflecting on City’s off-night, Guardiola explained how his side simply failed to match Southampton’s desire and that set the tone for a forgettable defeat.
He said: “The best team won. They were better. We had a bad night, they played good. We had a bad start. They performed well. We have to deserve it. I want to deserve it and today was not the case. Southampton deserve to be in the semi-final of this competition.
“It was a bad night. I know them quite well. We didn’t get close to what we are. After three days against Chelsea and today, the difference. Nothing to say. They were better, we congratulate them and accept it.
“Mainly these guys have done these years and three days ago vs Chelsea, we have to be prepared every single game when you play for Manchester City. Today we were not.”
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